The most recent case involves Voltage Pictures, which is working with U.S. Copyright Group and going after 25,000 anonymous BitTorrent users whose IPs allegedly downloaded a copy of the film The Hurt Locker. U.S. Copyright Group sent out letters that demanded between $1000 and $3000 in settlement money from alleged violators--and threatened to sue users for up to $150,000 if they didn't settle.
Just a few weeks before the Hurt Locker case, U.S. Copyright Group targeted about 23,300 torrent users for downloading Nu Image's The Expendables.
Copyright Cases Far From Slam Dunks
Much to the chagrin of U.S. Copyright Group and other copyright trolls, however, the legal actions haven't always gone as planned.
In both cases U.S. Copyright Group was allowed to subpoena offending Internet service providers for the personal details of the account holders associated with the IP addresses, though the court recently revoked the subpoenas for the Expendables case. The subpoenas were revoked because U.S. Copyright Group failed to serve the clients quickly, and because the judge realized that most of the IP addresses probably do not belong to residents of the district in which the case was filed (Washington, D.C.).
More recently a firm called Righthaven was accused of being intentionally "dishonest" by a federal judge in a copyright-infringement lawsuit over content taken from the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Website and used elsewhere. Righthaven issued as many as 300 lawsuits related to content that it claimed it owned.
According to U.S. District Judge Roger Hunt of Nevada, who was presiding over the case, Righthaven did not own the content, and the rightful owner of the content wasn't identified in the suit. According to reports on the matter, Hunt threatened to sanction Righthaven for what he called "disingenuous, if not outright deceitful" litigation efforts, at the same time questioning the company's business model.
Wired.com reports that more than 100 bloggers have settled with Righthaven for undisclosed sums related to the Review-Journal infringement case. Those bloggers are now mulling their own legal action against Righthaven.
Threats, Settlements, and Lawyering Up